Microsoft unveils hosted security products

Microsoft has unveiled its hosted security products following its buy of FrontBridge technologies.

Bought in the summer of last year for an undisclosed sum, FrontBridge’s managed security portfolio completed the business end of Microsoft’s security offering. It bought Sybari prior to that and is now able to cater for business security requirements whether hosted or in-house.

‘We’re driving to deliver world-class software any way customers choose,’ said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. ‘Exchange Hosted Services will give customers more flexibility in how they deploy, manage and maintain technology.’

Microsoft’s incarnation of FrontBridge stands under the Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services flag and comprises Hosted Filtering, Hosted Archive, Hosted Continuity and Hosted Encryption.

The services will be offered on a per-user licensing basis, making them potentially attractive to small businesses.

Hosted Filtering will counteract virus, spam, phishing and security policy violations in email. Hosted Archive is a secure archive of emails and instant messages and will help customers meet regulatory and legal requirements.

Hosted Continuity provides a web-based interface to the email system so that should the in-house mail server topple over, staff can still log in to their email accounts through a browser.

Hosted Encryption ensures privacy by providing encryption right from the desktop.

Microsoft says it will continue to improve the filtering against malicious code and traffic, improve language support for spam quarantine, optimise indexing to improve searches of email and work on advanced centralised admin tools to help enforce security policies.

Microsoft claims that since its buy, it has driven adoption of the services by 25 per cent in terms of customers and 20 per cent in terms of resellers.

However, it should be remembered that FrontBridge was a relatively small company in a small market. At the time of the acquisition, it only boasted 3,000 customers. Even Messagelabs only had around 12,000, and we were told that the top four providers only tallied around 25,000 customers between them.

With Microsoft’s reach, it’s little wonder sales showed improvements, and for now rivals are playing nicely with their new competitor, enjoying the extra limelight shed on the market.

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